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Deltiology is the study and collection of postcards

Compared to philately (the study and collection of stamps), the identification of a postcard's place and time of production can often be an impossible task because postcards, unlike stamps, are produced in a decentralised, unregulated manner. For this reason, some collectors choose to limit their acquisitions to cards by specific artists and publishers, or by time and location.

Deltiologists, as postcard collectors are called, collect for a variety of reasons. Some are attracted to the postcards themselves, then narrow down their interests. Others are interested in something in particular, such as Ballet, then decide to collect Ballet related postcards as a way to augment their interest in Ballet.

Postcards are collected by historical societies, libraries and genealogical societies because of their importance in research such as how a city looked at a particular time in history as well as social history. Many elementary schools use postcards to teach children geography. Postcard Pen-pal programs have been established to help children in language arts.

Collectors may find postcards at home in boxes, attics, or scrapbooks, generate their own on trips and vacations, and acquire them from stores, fleamarkets, dealer shows, the internet, or other collectors.

Worldwide, deltiology is the third largest hobby after stamp collecting and money collecting. As a result, postcard clubs are all around the world. These clubs, as well as related organisations, host postcard shows on a regular basis.

more info …..example

What is Deltiology?

Starting with Beginners

Advice for Beginners

All collectors have to start somewhere.

Here is a link to an excellent article on "How to Collect Postcards"

It discusses these topics and shows examples:

1. Decide how you will approach collecting postcards.

2. If you have a particular interest, consider collecting postcards related to that interest.

3. Know the general postcard eras.

4. Learn the collector's terminology and focus.

5. Spend some time researching the values of postcards.

6. Understand the difference between a "real photo" postcard and a regular postcard.

7. Find postcards.

8. Know what to check for when buying postcards.

9. Display

10. Keep learning more about collecting postcards.

Collecting vs Accumulating

A "Postcard Collection" is not the same thing as a "Postcard Accumulation". It's fairly easy to tell the difference.

A postcard collection is an organized, focused, and actively collected group of cards. The best cards are usually found in collections.

A postcard accumulation is.. well.. accumulated. An accumulation might contain cards from relatives or friends, cards from mixed lots bought at auction, or cards chosen from an antique store. While an accumulation might possibly contain the occasional good or better cards, it's going to be the luck of the draw.

Most postcard collectors begin as accumulators until they settle down with one or several collecting topics.

Keeping your Postcards Safe

If you want to keep your postcards safe there are some definite things to avoid:

1. Don't store postcards in plastic containers for long periods of time.
2. Never keep them in the film & sticky back kind of photo album!
3. Keep them away from old craft/pulp paper style albums. These inexpensive papers contain high amounts of acid.

Postcards should be kept in acid-free, archival quality storage materials, away from light. Many serious collectors keep at least their best cards in Mylar (a polyester film) or polyethylene sleeves or in special archival storage boxes or pages.

In general, most archivists consider polyethylene, polypropylene, and Mylar stable storage media. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a cheaper plastic, but contains plasticizers that can migrate, leaving an oily residue on your postcards over time. One can recognize PVC by its distinct "plastic" smell. Archival quality materials generally have very little (if any) odour.

Collecting Values Values2


Many paper souvenirs were created prior to the postcard, some were even mailed, but John P. Charlton, Philadelphia, copyrighted the first private post card, in 1861. When he was unable to obtain a patent he sold the copyright to H.L. Lipman who produced and sold the Lipman's Postal Card. It was a non-pictorial message card, which was in use until 1873 when the United States issued the government postal. The Lipman cards are considered the father of the modern mailing cards because many advertisers used the cards to illustrate and print their sales messages. Similar cards were used around the world during this general time frame. The world's first government postal card was in Austria on Oct. 1, 1869, which was created by Emanuel Hermann of Vienna.

In 1898, the U.S. Congress allowed privately created postal cards the same standards and rates as government postals. These postcards were inscribed: Private Mailing Card-Authorized by the Act of Congress, May 19, 1898. Further concessions came in 1902 in England, 1904 in France, 1905 in Germany, and 1907 in the United States when a postcard back was divided. This allowed one half for the message and the other for the address. Prior to these changes only the address could be on the stamp box side causing many artists to have to incorporate message space in their pictorial designs.

As important as the mail regulations were, it was the establishment of the Rural Free Delivery system in 1898 that made the postcard a universal tool. By 1906, Rural Free Delivery was well established and sending postcards became a way of life. From 1898 to 1918 a phenomenon called the Golden Age of Postcards emerged. Billions of postcards were mailed throughout the world. This led to postcard collecting clubs where individuals met to exchange cards and share their treasures. Postcard publishers worked day and night to meet the great demand for cards. The cards were generally sold for a penny and were mailed for a penny.

Reference :

Milestones in Postcard History
by Susan Brown Nicholson

Collecting Postcards. A Hobby and Interest for all ages and enthusiasts…

Real Photo Postcards

How to recognise Real Photo Postcards

Postcard collectors often ask how to recognize real photo postcards (RPPC). The easiest way to tell how a postcard was produced is to look at the card under slight magnification. Most printed cards will have some sort of dot pattern, much like a photograph printed in a magazine.

I found this great explanation of some of the various printing types used in producing postcards at “Mad in Pursuit”. She has various types of postcards scanned at 2400dpi which reveals much about how they were produced.

1. Real photograph: Printed directly on to sensitised paper from a photographic negative to produce the finest grain

2. Collotype: A photo-gelatin method that produced a very fine grain

3. Albertype: A collotype coating on glass plates permitted high speed mass production of photographs for the first time

4. Photogravure: A copper engraving plate is sensitised photographically

5. Platinogravure: Brand name for a French reproduction process

6. Half-tone: Processed through a screen into a grid of variably sized black & white dots

7. 1907 Undivided back: Black halftone screen, with color tints added

8. 1913 Divided back: Albertype (variety of collotype), hand-coloured

9. 1913 Divided back: Black halftone screen, with colour tints added

10. 1924 White border era: Black halftone screen, with colour tints added

11. 1935 Linen card era: Black halftone with mechanical colour tint

12. 1960s Photochrome era: 4-colour halftone

For more information on this article and where it was taken from, follow the links below:

Article Reference :

“It was rather like the telephone we use today, you could send an almost instant message.”

The postcard: a simple device to show your loved ones all the glamorous places you’ve visited. Filled with messages of ‘Wish You Were Here’, they are a freeze frame of another far away exotic place. For family members, they are memories. For collectors, they are snapshots into the past. For some, they are a way of sprucing up your otherwise dreary office desk.

Steve Kentfield is a postcard trader under the guise East London Postcard, and every few months he visits the ETC Fair, to sell and trade vintage postcards from across the world to other like minded collectors.

Meanwhile the National Library of Wales has a collection of over 20,000, used to document the changing face of the country. The Photographer’s Gallery recently held an exhibition on John Hinde, the most prominent postcard photographer in the 1950s and 60s. Sarah Salway is a poet and writer that uses postcards as a platform for her poetry, and Tony Bryant is a collector of over 50 years.

During the Golden Age of postcards between 1905 and 1915, about 750 million postcards were sent in Britain each year, a staggering 2 million a day. In 2005, the Royal Mail estimated 134 million postcards were sent in the UK during the summer months, an increase of 30 million over three years. The vintage postcard attracts people from all walks of life, either interested in the social history they showcase, or the messages on the back.

But in a world that is increasingly online, will people collect and send them forever?

Producer: George McDonagh

A very interesting Sound - Clip

Our thanks to Liz Mckendrick

You know what they say about the mailman, he always delivers. A hundred years ago it was truer than ever. And Scania was a big part of it.

At Your Postal Service

Perfect environment to make friends with others of the same interest

-Regular show-goer

The Postcard - A Voyage of Discovery

This video takes place at Denver Postcard Show. If you have interest in North Africa or China, you may find this interesting. Does anyone know who “Dave” is?

Postcard Show - Collectors Catacomb

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